These 7 States Already Ban Assault Weapons, And SCOTUS Won't Change That
The Supreme Court refused to review the ability of cities and states to ban semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines Monday. The case was a Second Amendment challenge to a law in Highland Park, Illinois which banned assault weapons — which are defined as any semiautomatic firearm which accepts large-capacity magazines and possesses a number of specialized features. Many cities across the country have similar laws, and seven states ban certain assault weapons. SCOTUS won't be changing this anytime soon.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia wanted to hear the Friedman v. City of Highland Park case, and Thomas wrote in his dissent: "Roughly five million Americans own AR-style semi-automatic rifles ... The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting. Under our precedents, that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons." SCOTUS ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 that Americans have the right to keep weapons at home, but clarified that this didn't mean that people had the "right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."
Here are the seven states which ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
California prohibits residents from owning or buying assault weapons or .50 browning machine gun (BMG) rifles, unless they were acquired before 1989. The shooters in the Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino, which killed 14 and wounded 21, used two assault-style rifles that were legally obtained through a loophole which allows such weapons with button mechanisms to release their ammunition magazines. A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told The Huffington Post that the shooters illegally tampered with the guns to make them more deadly. They also used two legally bought semiautomatic handguns.
After the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut banned assault weapons, including selective fire firearms and semiautomatic AR, AK, and SKS variants. The state also prohibits large-capacity magazines, which are defined as those holding more than 10 rounds.
Hawaii doesn't allow semiautomatic pistols with two or more banned features, which the state defined as assault pistols, fully-automatic firearms, shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches long, and rifles with barrels less than 16 inches long. It's also illegal to posses handgun magazines which can hold more than 10 rounds.
Maryland banned assault pistols, assault long guns, and other assault weapons with two more prohibited features, including folding stocks, grenade or flare launchers, and flash suppressors. Since 2013, detachable magazines for semiautomatic handguns and semiautomatic center-fire rifles able to hold more than 10 rounds are also illegal.
Massachusetts defines assault weapons as guns which have two or more banned features, similarly to Hawaii and Maryland, including AR and AK variants. The state also bans magazines of over 10 rounds capacity.
Any gun deemed an assault firearm or is "substantially identical" to one is forbidden in New Jersey. Semiautomatic rifles and pistols which can accept a detachable magazine and have two or more of the banned criteria are also prohibited. Going even further, the state prohibits people from having parts that could readily assemble into an assault firearm, or magazines that can accept more than 15 rounds for rifles and pistols or six rounds for semiautomatic shotguns.
New York state followed the other states' lead in banning assault rifles and pistols with the capacity for detachable magazines and two or more other forbidden features, as well as revolving cylinder shotguns, certain semiautomatic shotguns, and large-capacity feeding devices.